Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Gymnastics Battles No. 1 UCLA, Washington, Cal State Fullerton Sunday
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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    What's Coming Up - The Arizona women's gymnastics team (4-8, 1-2 Pac-10) begins a two-meet road swing this weekend, as the Wildcats will compete in the 24th Annual UCLA Invitational... Arizona is set to battle top-ranked UCLA (8-1, 2-1 Pac-10), Washington (4-3, 1-2 Pac-10) and Cal State Fullerton (3-4) on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. PST (3 p.m. MST), in UCLA's Pauley Pavilion... Arizona is looking to pick up two more Pac-10 victories this weekend... UA will participate in the squad's fourth and final quadrangular meet of the season... No. 1 UCLA is looking to capture its 10th consecutive and 15th overall UCLA Invitational team title... Arizona is coming off two impressive upset victories at home last weekend, including its first Pac-10 win, over No. 19 Oregon State and No. 21 Denver.

    Head Coach Bill Ryden's Weekly Analysis - "This weekend's meet is going to be a good test for us since we're coming off of an important win last Friday. I am confident that we can do well, but what I am most concerned with is that the team keeps developing its competitive attitude. We are competing very well as a unit, but we just have to keep improving week after week. We are not even close to reaching this team's potential."


    Arizona's Last Time Out - The University of Arizona women's gymnastics team scored two impressive upset victories over No. 20 Oregon State and No. 24 Denver in a triangular meet on Feb. 2, in front of a crowd of 825, in McKale Center. Arizona led the way with a season-high 195.175 team total, while Denver finished second (194.825) and Oregon State (194.575) ended the meet in third place.

    The Wildcats posted season-high totals on bars (48.700) and beam (48.875). Arizona improved its record to 4-8 overall and 1-2 in the Pac-10, as the Wildcats earned their first Pac-10 victory of the year. Oregon State dropped to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the conference, and Denver ended the meet with a 5-3 overall mark.

    Arizona (4-8, 1-2 Pac-10) trailed Oregon State by .575 after the first rotation. Although the Wildcats scored a season-high 48.700 on bars in the second rotation, Oregon State still led the Wildcats, 97.700-97.275. UA came back strong in the third rotation, as the Wildcats posted a season-high performance on beam (48.875). Arizona climbed into first place following the third event, while Denver moved into second, and Oregon State dropped to third. Arizona's 49.025 team score on floor in the fourth and final rotation sealed the Cats' first-place finish. UA's season-high beam score (48.875) now ranks as the 10th-best beam rotation mark in school history.

    UA won the team beam (48.875) and floor (49.025) events, while Denver and Oregon State tied for first in the vault (48.750) event. Oregon State also took the team bars event (49.150). The Beavers took top individual event honors on vault, bars and beam, while Arizona's Randi Liljenquist took first place in both the floor and all-around events. Seven Wildcat gymnasts - Nikki Beyschau, Kara Fry, Sheehan Lemley, Randi Liljenquist, Andi McCabe, Cori Messina and Heather Straccia - each set or tied season-high and career-high marks in the tri-meet.

    Individually for the Wildcats, junior All-American Randi Liljenquist won her first all-around title of the year with a season-high 39.375. Liljenquist took top honors on floor for the third time this season after setting a season-high 9.950. She tied for second on beam with a 9.850, finished fifth on vault with a season-high 9.775 and tied a season-high 9.800 on bars.

    Senior Kara Fry scored a season-high 9.850 on bars and tied for third place, and she landed in fifth place on floor with a 9.850. Senior Mary Reiss tied for third place on floor with a 9.875, while fellow senior Heather Straccia set a career-high 9.700 on bars. Sophomore Nikki Beyschau posted a season-high 9.750 on vault and tied for sixth in the event. Beyschau also set a season-high 9.825 on bars and tied for sixth place.

    Freshman Sheehan Lemley tied for fourth place on beam and set a career-high 9.825 in her only event of the meet. Freshman Andi McCabe set a career-high 9.775 on beam and tied for seventh place. McCabe also tied a career-high 9.750 on floor and tallied a career-high 9.000 in her first collegiate vault performance. Freshman Cori Messina posted a career-high 9.350 in her first collegiate floor performance.

    Scouting UCLA - The No. 1 UCLA Bruins (8-1, 2-1 Pac-10) enter this weekend's competition after finishing first in a quad meet with Alabama, Cal State Fullerton and Southern Utah on Jan. 28... UCLA's only loss this season came at the hands of the Arizona State Sun Devils (196.350-196.000) on Jan. 26, as the Bruins scored their lowest total for the season... Bruin gymnasts have recorded eight perfect 10s so far this season... The Bruins also are ranked No. 1 in the West Region... UCLA captured the team title in the 2000 UCLA Invitational with a meet record mark of 196.925... The Bruins are the defending national champions and the defending Pac-10 Conference champions... Head coach Valorie Kondos Field is in her 11th year at the helm of the Bruin program and holds a 210-46 overall school and career record.

    Scouting Washington - The Washington Huskies (4-3, 1-2 Pac-10) are coming off a 193.075-195.575 loss against Arizona State on Feb. 2... Washington is ranked sixth in the West Region, and the Huskies' season-high team total for the year is a 195.925... Husky Stacy Wong is the team's only nationally-ranked gymnast, checking in at No. 11 on the uneven bars... The Huskies have posted victories over Maryland, Boise State, Seattle Pacific during the season... Washington defeated Pac-10 foe California in the first meet of the 2001 season but has since fallen to Stanford and Arizona State... The Huskies finished third at the 2000 Pac-10 Championship meet... Husky head coach Bob Levesque is in his 11th season with the program and holds a 114-90 overall school and career record.

    Scouting Cal State Fullerton - The Cal State Fullerton Titans (3-4) are ranked fifth in the West Region... The Titans are coming off a 194.750-192.600 win over No. 24 California on Feb. 3... Cal State Fullerton set a season-high team total (194.750) in the meet against the Golden Bears... Kelly Mathiasen won the all-around with a career-best 39.300 and took first-place honors on beam and floor... Mathiasen ranks sixth regionally in the all-around... Head coach Julie Knight (Cal State Fullerton, '79) is in her fourth season at the helm of the Titan program and holds a 22-15 overall career and school record.

    Wildcats in the Rankings - After beginning the 2001 season ranked No. 20 in the preseason coaches' poll, Arizona has since dropped out of the top-25 rankings... This week, nine of Arizona's 2001 opponents - UCLA, Utah, Stanford, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arizona State, Oregon State, Denver and California - are ranked in the Feb. 5 national gymnastics poll... UA is ranked No. 11 nationally on floor - up one spot from last week - and No. 14 on beam - up two spots from the Jan. 29 poll... Junior Randi Liljenquist is ranked No. 9 nationally on floor and No. 17 on beam this week... Arizona is ranked No. 6 in the South Central Region as of Feb. 5... The Cats are second on floor, third on vault, fourth on beam and eighth on bars... Individually, Liljenquist is first on floor, second on beam, seventh on vault and fifth in the all-around... Fry is eighth in the all-around and 14th on floor... Freshman Aimee Estella is ranked 14th on vault... Freshman Andi McCabe is 10th in the region on beam, while senior Mary Reiss is 15th on floor... In terms of schedule strength, 10 of Arizona's 2001 opponents were ranked in the preseason coaches' poll... Six Pac-10 teams - UCLA (1), Stanford (7), Arizona State (11), Oregon State (12), Washington (16) and Arizona (20) - were ranked in the preseason poll... Women's gymnastics rankings are posted every Monday at:

    Arizona in the Record Books - UA's season-high beam score (48.875) now ranks as the 10th-best beam rotation mark in school history... The score is a stark improvement from the 47.575 mark that the Wildcats posted in the first meet of the season against North Carolina State, New Hampshire and James Madison.

    Cat Scratches - Arizona head coach Bill Ryden is in his third year at the helm of the program (11th overall at Arizona) and holds a 25-37-1 career and school record... Arizona notched two victories over North Carolina State and James Madison on the road in the first meet of the 2001 season... UA is 1-5 in neutral contests, 1-2 in away meets and 2-1 at home this season... Six of Arizona's eight freshman have competed in the first five meets of the season... So far this year, 13 Wildcat gymnasts have set or tied season-high and career-high marks... Junior Randi Liljenquist leads the team with six individual event titles, including one all-around title... Liljenquist also has 16 top-five finishes... Senior Kara Fry has four individual event titles and 13 top-five finishes... Freshman Aimee Estella has a vault title and two top-five finishes... Senior Mary Reiss has posted three top-five finishes... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau has two top-five performances... Senior Heather Straccia and freshmen Cori Messina and Sheehan Lemley each have one top-five finish entering this weekend's meet.

    A Look Ahead - Arizona closes out a two-meet road swing when the Wildcats travel to Seattle, Wash., to face the Washington Huskies for the second time this season on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. PST (3 p.m. MST)... The Wildcats return to McKale Center on Friday, Feb. 23, to take on the Stanford Cardinal, at 7:30 p.m. MST.

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